I first came across Ruffmercy (Russ Murphy) when reading an issue of Juxtapoz a few years ago. I recently revisited m collection of Juxtapoz mags for inspiration, and was reminded of his work.

For my own work, I really like the idea of animating illustrations, drawing on top of photos or video. I have a background in photography and would like to be able to use it. Combining a medium that is immediate recognisable as “real”  and what is seen with more fluid illustrations as the invisible could work in visualising this experience.

Pain map, monoprint

I have been creating pain maps throughout this module, particularly after visiting Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican Centre last year. I have never really stopped doing them, and feel I could explore this further and use it with video in bridging the gap between what is seen and not seen.

Using a similar technique to Ruffmercy’s animations on videos, I’d like to try this.

First test – using webcam stills

I want to try and make this as live as possible. I wasn’t too sure where to start, so started with the kit I had immediately in front of me. I used my webcam, changed to black and white so the line work would be more visible, and realised in the effects panel on Youcam I could draw onto the frame and then take a picture. I was able to illustrate what I was experiencing as I was experiencing it. I made a set of 10 frames and then turned them into an animated gif in Photoshop.

I want to be able to do this without having to use my webcam, to look from different angles, with better video quality and be able to apply the brushes I have in Photoshop, using the different brushes to better identify different kinds of pain e.g scratchy, fuzzy etc.

It turns out it is not as difficult as I initially thought. After watching this quick video, I quickly learnt how to animate over the top of videos without having to learn new software and was able to use the brushes I had made in Photoshop.

2nd test – importing videos into Photoshop

I used my webcam again and made a quick video just to use as a test. It was originally a minute long. I soon realised that this was incredibly ambitious for a test. It took me half an hour to animate one second of video. Using the instructions on the video tutorial, I was able to see the previous layer at a lower opacity so I knew what I was following. I had not really considered the frame rate and how fast it would be. In future, I need to bare in mind how fast the frame rate is. There were 35 individual frames in the second of footage, and slower transitions will be needed for a smoother animation, but also less chaotic, unless that is the speed of the pain experienced. Because it was only a second, I turned this into a gif aswell, saves uploading onto youtube or vimeo.

If I become more well versed in this approach, I would definitely consider having this as part of my final work. I want to create books from invisible letters, but that is an individual experience. I want my audience to be able to experience this small exhibit in a group show in different ways. A film would do that. Things to think about. Do I have time to do this?


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